Local business gets $15,000 grant for new product
Local couple creates re-usable food container, Squeasy Gear
When Clarissa and Kiley Wilson’s older child was a toddler, they started working on a reusable food pouch to replace the disposable pouches they using for traveling because those could be eaten without a spoon. In 2011 they started designing their dream container addressing some issues they had with the disposable version: spills and messes, size and the environmental impacts. It was then that Squeasy Gear, Inc., was born.
“We looked and found that there wasn’t anything like that existed,” Clarissa said. “We were sure there had to be a reusable container to buy for us to serve our own smoothies and purees to our children. To our amazement, we couldn’t find anything. We knew exactly what we wanted but it did not exist.”
After designing and testing the container, the Squeasy Snacker was released to the public in July 2014. While on summer break from teaching at Lewis Middle School and Paso Robles High School, the Wilsons started marketing their product to local boutiques that carry children’s products and at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. Since then, they’ve launched an online store on the website and Amazon.
“We’re really excited about the response we’ve gotten from parents,” Clarissa said.
At the expo in Las Vegas, the Wilsons became award of Huggies MomInspired Grant Program, awards up to $15,000 to further the development of innovative products inspired by the joys of motherhood. The Wilsons received $15,000 for Squeasy Gear. Clarissa said they plan to use the money to increase its marketing, going to more trade shows and to develop more on-the-go feeding products. It has three sizes of containers: 3.5-, 6- and 16-ounce.
The Wilsons now have three children: 7, 4 and 2, and they utilize the containers for snacks for all ages. Clarissa said that they likes to make her own baby food, applesauce and smoothies.
“It’s fun to sneak greens in it,” Clarissa said with a laugh.
While the product is currently manufactured in China because she said it is not affordable for them — or their customers — to make it in the United States at this time. “We’d really love to have it manufactured in the United States,” Clarissa said.
Clarissa was born in Paso Robles and moved back to the area after she got a job at Lewis Middle School teaching art. Kiley teaches art and Spanish at Paso Robles High School.
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